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Omicron: Vaccines less effective, carries higher risk of reinfection, says WHO

Omicron: Vaccines less effective, carries higher risk of reinfection, says WHO

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday said preliminary evidence suggests that coronavirus vaccines may be less effective against infection and transmission linked to the Omicron coronavirus variant, which also carries a higher risk of reinfection. The UN health body said that more data was needed to better understand the extent to which Omicron may evade immunity derived from either vaccines or previous infection. As a result of this, the overall risk related to the new variant of concern Omicron remains very high, it said. Earlier on Tuesday, the global health body said the variant was spreading at an unprecedented rate and urged the countries to act. Early data suggests it can be resistant to vaccines and is more transmissible than the Delta variant, which was first identified in India and accounts for the bulk of the worlds coronavirus cases. WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters the strain had been reported in 77 countries and had probably spread to most nations undetected at a rate we have not seen with any previous variant. Meanwhile, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen today said expressed concerns that the omicron may become the dominant coronavirus variant in the 27-nation bloc by mid-January. Though, the head of the EUs executive branch said the bloc is well prepared to fight omicron with 66.6% of the European population now fully vaccinated against the virus. The US on Tuesday said variant accounts for an estimated 3% of Covid-19 cases in the country and more than one in eight cases in the New York and New Jersey area, federal data show. Cases caused by the Omicron variant started cropping up in the US after Thanksgiving, and as of Dec. 11 account for an estimated 2.9% of infections, according to data the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released on Tuesday. The estimates range regionally from less than 1% of cases in some areas to more than 13% of cases in the region including New York and New Jersey. Download.

science 2021-12-15 Livemint